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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Plant A Tree...

April is almost over, and the merry, merry month of May is right around the corner. Grass is green, daffodils, violets and arbutus are blooming and the rains have stopped. Well, almost, anyway. Morel mushrooms are probably out, but we haven't found any yet.

We had a few fine days in April, or at least some fine, balmy hours, but we also had some pretty outrageous winds, drenching downfalls, intense lightning storms, and sudden spats of rain. Do hope the violent storms are over, even though tornado season is just now approaching.

Anyway, with all the rain, water levels are high all over TIMESland, and mud abounds.There should be an end to worries that this old world is drying up.

PLANT A TREE

Arbor Day 2017 falls on Friday, April 28. Old Farmer's Almanac suggests celebrating by planting a tree dedicated to someone who is special to you.

Arbor Day exists because of a zealous tree lover named Julius Sterling Morton, who was born in Adams, New York, in 1832. On the day after their wedding in October of 1854, Morton and his new wife, Caroline Joy French, headed west for adventure in the wild Nebraska Territory. They settled on 160 treeless acres, and Morton promptly set about remedying the treeless situation He planted thousands of trees on the homestead, including an apple orchard, peach, plum and pear trees, plus cottonwoods, evergreens, beeches and more. Today, the Morton family home, now known as Arbor Lodge, is a state park in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Over the years it grew from four rooms into a 52-room mansion, complete with a terraced garden, pine grove, and 65 acres with more than 250 varieties of trees and shrubs.

Morton worked as a journalist and a politician. He was secretary and acting governor of the Nebraska Territory from 1858 to 1861. In 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed him U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

At every opportunity, he urged Nebraskans to plant trees and try new crops. At one point (sometime in 1872) Morton declared: "If I had the power, I would compel every man in the State who had a home of his own to plant out and cultivate fruit trees."

On April 22, 1885 Arbor Day became a legal holiday in Nebraska. Thousands of Nebraska City citizens turned out for one big party, including 1,000 school-children who formed a parade. Within 20 years of its creation, the holiday was celebrated in every American state except Delaware, which eventually joined in.

Morton was said to be particularly pleased that schools across the country began celebrating Arbor Day by dedicating the trees they planted to special people.

It is partly thanks to Morton that so many city streets today are lined with fine old (and not so old) trees.

In the days immediately after the Peshtigo Fire of 1871 trees were outlawed in Peshtigo. Thinking was that if there were no trees there could be no future forest fires. Eventually city fathers realized the error of their ways and relented. Today Peshtigo has a regular tree planting program and is recognized as a Tree City, USA. Trees are an essential part of yards, parks and streetscapes.

Marinette County Forestry Department does its part by planting thousands and thousands of trees each year, not because of Arbor Day but because trees are a vital part of the county's economy and essential to the entire Northwoods way of life.

HOW TO PLANT A TREE

Whether you buy locally or order out, assign as possible after you get your tree or trees, unpack them and cover the roots with wet newspaper, hay, or peat moss. Or still better,"heel" them in by placing in a shallow trench in a shady location and covering the roots with soil. Protect from freezing by covering them on cold nights if necessary. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, until you can get them planted.

If you haven't trenched the trees, before planting, soak the roots in a bucket of water for 12 to 24 hours to replace lost moisture lost.

Dig holes wide and deep enough to allow spreading out the roots without bending, breaking, or crowding them. The hole should be at least twice the width and depth of the root mass. Try to keep the dark topsoil separate from the lighter colored subsoil. Be sure to roughen up the sides of the hole to make it easier for young roots to work their way in.

Do not fertilize at this point. This can make a weakly rooted tree. Put some of the reserved topsoil into the bottom of the hole and form it into a mound. Drape the roots over the mounded top soil.

If your new trees are grafted"meaning they're made from two different varieties joined together"you'll notice a bump or angle near the base where the top tree"called a "scion""was attached to the rootstock. Make sure that the graft union faces north and is at least 2 to 3 inches above the final soil level.

Pack soil into and around the roots to eliminate any air pockets. When the hole is half full, water well and let it soak in. Then continue to fill the hole using the remaining topsoil first and the subsoil last. Tamp it down firmly and water again.

You may need to build a rim of soil or mulch around the outside edge of the hole to keep water from running off too quickly. If you do this, be sure to break it down in the fall to prevent water from pooling around the tree and freezing in the winter.

Finally, stake your tree for support. Drive the stake through the root ball into the ground underneath. Stake the tree loosely until the roots get established. Larger trees may need 1 or 2 more stakes placed a few feet from the trunk.

Be sure your new tree gets at least one inch of water a week, whether from rain or a hose. Water your new tree right at the root ball every few days for the first several weeks during the growing season. The soil around the rootball should remain moist though not saturated.

Within several months, when sufficient numbers of roots have grown into the loosened, mulched soil surrounding the rootball, you can ease up, but you may need to water once a week throughout the first summer. Apply enough water to thoroughly wet the root zone to a depth of at least a foot, but don't water so often that the soil stays waterlogged. You can and probably should mulch, but keep the mulch away from the trunk to avoid collar rot.

ON THE SOAP BOX

POLITICAL HABITS


Some misguided folks are angry with President Donald Trump because he has been working hard to keep his campaign promises.

Guess we can't really blame them. Who would ever expect a candidate to worry about his promises once the ballots are counted? Hasn't happened in years, at least not in Washington.

Heck, they didn't really worry about the promises even before the election, except to be sure they were saying what they thought the public wanted to hear.

Maybe President Trump can set a new tradition, one in which political honesty is rewarded, not derided? Maybe we as voters should insist that it happens!

As for detractors who claim victory every time it looks like a Trump initiative has been blocked, let's hope that as the smart businessman that he is, our President is busy planning an end run.

STILL SORT OF

SOAP BOX INSANITY


Probably should know, but am not sure who James Woods is. Do like what he sometimes has to say though. For example, his definition of insanity: "The world is fighting Islamic terrorism, starvation and disease, but Democrats are fighting for men to pee in the ladies' room.

Thanks to Maggie for that one.

Friend Jeff says those folks who want to allow women who think they are men to use the men's room and vice versa are totally ignoring that he and others like him have rights too. Says while taking a break to relieve himself a woman walked in on him, and he felt like flushing himself down the toilet.

Life shouldn't be that way! The wishes of those of us who have old fashioned ideas about modesty and identity should be respected too. And I do believe we're still in the majority!

If it weren't for the expense we could require public places to either have single stall rooms with lockable doors for everyone, or three restrooms, His, Hers, and Guess.

TIMES A WASTIN'

Are you one of those people who waste their time watching television shows you don't like, or surfing the Internet when you should be getting your work done?

If you want to find more time for things you do want to do, there is an organized way to do it. First, list all of your time wasting habits. Include things like standing in the checkout line, and stopping for coffee when you could simply bring a cup from home. Or putting a pot of coffee on to brew and then standing there waiting for your first cup. It could be buying $10 of gas instead of filling the tank, which mean you need to back sooner.

Once your bad habits are identified, write down suggestions to change. Perhaps pull the plug on the TV or computer so you can't absent mindedly sit down and watch. It could include on-line banking to pay bills, etc. It could including mending a hem while you watch the TV you do want to see.

Finally, plan your day, and your week. Write down, in order, all the things you want to do, but be realistic. Do not write down "take a trip to the Bahamas". Do not write "buy a new fridge" when what you need to do is clean the old one.

Figure out how to multi-task. Catch up on phone calls while you're folding the laundry. Pay bills on-line, or while watching TV.

One thing the the time saving experts failed to mention was enlisting the help of your family, forcibly if necessary. Train them to quit making extra work for you, and in fact train them to do some of the work for you, for example clearing the table, peeling potatoes, and/or emptying the dishwasher. Chores used to be a given for children and they still should be. They may complain but being a contributing member of the family makes children feel good about themselves.

And if they have to pick up toys and papers, hang clothes and sweep and mop the floors once in a while they may be more careful about making a mess in the first place.

It's worth the effort. The time you save will be your own!

COOKIN' TIME

PERUVIAN BEEF STIR FRY

The combination of rice and potatoes sounds unnatural, but this is really good, and quick and easy to prepare if you marinate the beef ahead of time. Haven't tried it, but wonder if you could substitute frozen french Fries for the potatoes and save that step.

2 pounds of beef tenderloin or other tender steak

1⁄4 cup red wine or burgundy

2 tablespoons of crushed garlic

2 medium onions cut into strips

4 ounce can tomato sauce

5 potatoes peeled and cut into strips for frying

1 jalapeño pepper cut into thin strips

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon

Salt and pepper

Finely chopped parsley

Cooked white rice, for serving

Cut beef into thin strips and marinate in wine for 1 hour or more. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok or skillet over moderate heat and fry potatoes until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan,cook garlic and onion in tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When garlic is fragrant, add meat and brown on all sides. Remove meat and reserve its juice. Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes until slightly reduced. Add jalapeño strips, parsley, and vinegar. Return meat and juices to the pan. Add fried potatoes to pan and stir to combine. Serve over white rice. Serves six.

MINI PEACHES "N' CREAM CAKES

If you don't have the 9-ounce size cake mix, use 2/3 cup of mix from a regular size package instead.

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened, divided

1 large peach, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices

1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 package (3.4 ounces) Cheesecake Flavor Instant Pudding, divided

1/2 cup cold milk

3/4 cup thawed Whipped Topping

Heat oven to 30 degrees. Line 16 muffin pan cups with foil liners. Mix sugar and half the butter until blended; spoon into prepared muffin cups. Top with peaches. Beat cake mix, eggs, sour cream, 1/3 cup dry pudding mix and remaining butter in medium bowl with mixer until blended. Spoon over peaches. (Cups will be almost completely filled.) Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 min. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks; cool completely. Beat remaining pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in whipped topping. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with large plain tip. Insert tip into centers of cupcakes, then pipe pudding mixture into cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve, can be up to 24 hours. Invert cupcakes onto plates just before serving and remove liners.

Country Cousin

Thought for the week:
Ever notice that we seem to be able to have either time or money, but never both at the same time? Mostly, when there's a choice, we choose money. Maybe we ought to give more thought to time, time waits for no man. We can never go back to tomorrow. As Steve Jobs said, "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time." Unfortunately, we can save time, but we cannot put it away for the future. We use it today, or lose it! Guess using our precious time for the important things in life when the opportunities come along is the key.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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